Original Marrakech - Meet the Maker

Looking for the perfect gift or hostess gift? Look no further!

Add a touch of fun to your summer carry everything bag.

Tuck Shop's Lyndsay Borschke collaborated with Original Marrakech by marking bags/baskets with colourful embroidered sayings recognizing Canadian cottage locations and pop culture references. (“Ahead by a Century”, “Runnin’ Through the 6”, “Boss Lady”, “Muskoka”, “Pointe au Baril”, “Boat Tote”, “Cottage Bound” and many more).

Customization is available upon request if you'd like to make your present feel extra special.

Meet the Maker - we asked Pierre Chalimand (Founder) a few questions:  

Pierre, his wife Jessica and their daughter

Q: When and how did Original Marrakech come about? What triggered you?

A: We created Original Marrakech eight years ago, May 2010.

What prompted us to create this company came from France in St Malo - Brittany. It is a tourist town where Breton bowls are sold. Tourists get their names written on the bowls and leave with them as gifts. A memorable keepsake.

Previously, I was director of the restaurant Terrace Spices in the medina of Marrakech. A restaurant where all tourists come during their stay. Feeding approximately 70,000 customers a year. We were offered a shop at the entrance to the restaurant, so my wife Jessica and myself searched for a concept that would plead to tourists.

It was Jessica who started this experiment alone, she taught herself how to embroider on hats and baskets directly on demand for customers. People were doubtful that this would take off but we persisted as we wanted to work with a local, traditional and natural product.

At the time the straw basket was forgotten. Everyone knew of them, but only the older generations had baskets. We took the gamble to relaunch and have it appreciated by all.

Thanks to modern technology and true artisanship, we were able to use social platforms such as Instagram and Facebook to share images of our beautiful product. We were fortunate to have international bloggers who shared our work. And then word of mouth did the rest.

We were surprised to be contacted by the famous brand "Le Bon Marché" in Paris. They asked Jessica to come and do embroiery on site that would last six months. From there, Original Marrakech has experienced a considerable expansion. We were able to go to Tokyo, London etc. to embroider in wonderful concept stores.

Original Marrakech started as a tiny shop and the manufacturing was done in our apartment. We lived with our product, and sometimes had trouble accessing our bedroom.

It was no longer possible to continue like this. We moved into a small workshop and hired three employees. After two years the workshop was already too small which forced us to move once again.

Q: What's the process to make one bag, how long does it take?

A: The manufacturing is still developing. At the beginning Jessica did all the wool embroidery herself which took an enormous amount of time. It was necessary to find a machine that could braid the wool. I spent my nights cutting labels one by one before finding an artist who could prepare them for us. We’ve made enormous strides since the beginning. It used to take one hour to make one basket. Now it takes 15-20 minutes. We now have seventy people working for Original Marrakech with eight different trades.

Q: What's the most challenging aspect of your company?

A: The big difficulty we encounter is others copying our products. It took us some time to see that we were being copied by in-house staff who retrieved our client file. But it is with these experiences that we grow and learn to protect ourselves.

Q: What's next? Any future plans or exciting product development we can keep on our radar?

A: The evolution of Original Marrakech is endless. We are planning to develop a concept store in Marrakech. To develop wooden products, cutting boards, ceramics, glasses, carpets etc. Our wish is to be able to work as we have always done with traditional products and bring out our originality and fun side.


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